26 February 2013

Cameroon: Hold-UPp at Ecobank - Prosecution Witnesses Before the Bar

The hearing of the case concerning the armed robbery at ECOBANK Bonaberi continued on Monday February 25 at the Douala Military Court with 10 prosecution witnesses present in court. The first was the General Manager of G4S, a security service agency in charge of guarding the bank by day and night. According to the witness, G4S disposed two security agents by day and one by night at the building. He added that they worked in collaboration with military officers, given that the agents are officially forbidden from carrying firearms. On that fateful night, he said, two security agents lost their lives by bullet shots (one shot on the head and the other on the chest) while two empty cartridge shells and a grenade were found in the company's double cabin pick-up, that was retrieved about one kilometre from the crime scene. He attested that he was not present at the time of the incident, but only visited the scene later. Meanwhile, at their level, G4S provided the coffins, transported the corpses to their villages and offered financial assistance to the family for funeral arrangements. When asked to present proof that the deceased were actually his workers, he answered that he did not have their contract documents on the spot.

The second witness, a 48-year-old woman was a victim of the incident. The mother of six received a stray bullet on her left leg, which has left a scar between her knee and ankle. Her account held that while returning from her elder brother's funeral in the West region on the night of March 18 to 19, their vehicle was attacked by armed masked men. Upon opening fire on the vehicle, she was hit by a bullet, alongside the driver and another passenger. Her presence in court therefore, was to claim compensation charges. However, she presented but photocopies rather than the original copies of her medical certificate, which were rejected by the court. The case was adjourned to March 11, 2013 for both the prosecution and defense to compile their justification papers, the convocation of cross examination officers, alongside the presence of two key prosecution witnesses, as requested by the defense.

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